Nowadays, everyone is looking to develop an online presence, from the dry cleaner down the street to someone applying for a new job. Not everyone needs a full website, though, which is why learning how to sell microsites can be a great way to build a new revenue stream.
👉 A microsite is exactly what it sounds like – it’s a simple site that just offers the basic functionality that an individual or a business needs for their online presence.
The “traditional” way of creating a site like this would be to set up a fresh WordPress install for each client and build a site from scratch. However, that’s overkill for these types of sites.
If you set up a separate WordPress install for every single site you sell to clients, that’s going to up your hosting costs and add complexity, which means you have to charge more (which might scare away the types of clients who need a microsite).
👨🎓 In this post, we’re going to show you a better solution for how to sell microsites.
Instead of creating separate WordPress installs for each site, you can use a single WordPress install to power all of your clients’ microsites, all without the complexity of using WordPress multisite. But at the same time, you’ll still be able to give each client their own unique domain name.
This helps you keep your costs low, which means you can reach a whole new pool of potential clients while still earning enough money to keep the lights on.
Let’s get into it…
A quick overview on why and how to sell microsites on WordPress
As I mentioned in the beginning, many people need a website, but they don’t need the full flexibility of their own WordPress install.
Here are a few examples to give you an idea of what I’m talking about:
⌛ These types of clients usually have very simple needs, but also very small budgets.
If you were to build them a complete site from scratch, the money wouldn’t make sense for you, and the product that you would deliver would be way overkill for their needs.
By using a single WordPress install and selling simple microsites, you can eliminate those issues:
- You can keep your costs lower because you eliminate hosting costs and complexity.
- Your clients get a product that’s tailored to their needs.
Because everything is so simple, the finances could still make sense even if you price these microsites low – maybe around something like, say, a $200 setup fee + $10 per month ongoing.
In order to sell these microsites, you only really need a few things:
- A WordPress site where you can create one or more pages to act as the client’s microsite. You could design them with your favorite page builder to save time, even using templates to avoid designing from scratch.
- A way to map those standalone pages to a custom domain name. That way, each client can have their own domain name (e.g.,
clientsite.com) instead of being forced to use a URL on your WordPress install’s main domain name (e.g.,
yoursite.com/client-site). You can easily set this up using the WP Landing Kit plugin.
- Potentially a way to let clients edit their sites (this is optional – it’s up to you).
- Maybe a way to accept payments, if you want to set up automated recurring payments to simplify your billing. You could also just bill clients directly.
Let’s take a look at what it would be like to build this system in the simplest way possible… 👇
How to sell microsites with WordPress and WP Landing Kit
Now that you have the high-level details, let’s get into the actual process of how to sell microsites using this approach. We’ll cover the entire technical process of setting up a system for how to sell microsites.
We’ll break this into three sections:
Creating and managing microsites
To create your microsites, you’ll rely mostly on WP Landing Kit.
As we introduced earlier, WP Landing Kit is what lets you create unlimited microsites all powered by the same WordPress install (and without needing to add the complexity of WordPress multisite).
To get started, you need to purchase WP Landing Kit and then install/activate the plugin on the WordPress site that you want to use to power your clients’ microsites. Then, here’s how to set everything up.
Create the microsite using your favorite editor
To begin, you’ll want to create the client’s microsite using your preferred editor. You could use the native WordPress block editor or you could use your favorite page builder plugin such as Elementor.
You can create the microsite as a regular page on your WordPress install (Pages → Add New). Or, if you want to separate your clients’ microsites from other content on the site, you could always create a custom post type to use for client sites.
The only important detail is that you’ll want to make sure to use a blank canvas for the design (so that your main theme isn’t visible). If you use the free Neve theme, you can easily enable a blank canvas when needed (and it also loads really fast, too).
What if the microsite has more than one page? Easy – just add each page separately.
If you need some help organizing pages, you can use a plugin like Wicked Folders to organize pages into folders. This would let you create a separate folder for each client that only contains the pages from that client’s microsite.
For now, each page will have its own separate URL on your main domain – e.g.,
yoursite.com/page-slug. Obviously, that’s not great for client sites, as most clients will want to use their own domain names.
💡 That’s why WP Landing Kit is so important to this setup, as it lets you map a custom domain name to the page(s) that you created for that client.
Map domain name to the microsite
Once you’re finished designing the client’s microsite, head to Domains → Add New in your WordPress dashboard to add the custom domain name for that client’s site.
Enter the domain name at the top and choose which protocol to enforce. You can also add a favicon that’s unique to that client site:
Then, expand the mapping settings for the domain root to start mapping this domain to the page(s) of the client’s microsite.
First, map the root domain name to the homepage of the client’s microsite:
- URL – you can’t edit this because you’re mapping the domain root.
- Action – map to resource.
- Resource – use the drop-down to select the page (or custom post type) that you want to use as the client’s homepage.
If the client’s site only has a single page, this is all you need to do.
If your client’s site has additional pages, you can click the Add URL mapping button to add more domain mappings.
For example, let’s say you want to map
clientsite.com/contact to another page that you created to act as the contact page. You would configure it like so:
- URL – add
contactas the subfolder.
- Action – map to resource.
- Resource – select the page that you created for the client’s contact page.
⌛ Repeat the process as many times as needed to map all of the pages in the client’s microsite.
Update DNS records for the domain
To finish things off, you’ll need to update the DNS records of the client’s domain name to point to your WordPress install.
If you purchased the domain name, you can do this yourself. However, if you had your client purchase it, you’ll need to ask them to do it (or ask them for access to their domain registrar account so that you can do it yourself).
👉 You can learn how to do this at this WP Landing Kit help article.
Accepting payments from clients
You have a few different options for accepting payments from your clients, depending on how much functionality you need.
WP Simple Pay (or other Stripe payments plugin)
The simplest option would be to use a plugin like WP Simple Pay to accept basic recurring payments via Stripe. WP Simple Pay also supports one-time setup fees, so you could configure something like “$250 to set up your microsite + $10 per month for as long as you want to run the site.”
ℹ️ While there is a free version of the plugin, you’d need the Pro version to accept recurring payments.
Another option would be to use your favorite form plugin to create a payment form. Gravity Forms is a great place to start, but most form plugins include payment functionality if you purchase their premium versions. We have a guide on how to create a payment form with Gravity Forms.
As a third approach, you could also use a WordPress invoice plugin to bill your clients. The advantage of this approach is that you get a little more flexibility for sending invoices to your clients, and that might be something your clients prefer.
👉 To learn how to set this up, check out our guide on how to bill clients using an invoice plugin.
Finally, you could also use WooCommerce to manage billing. While this does add some complexity and price (because you’d need to purchase the WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin for recurring payments), it opens the door for some really neat automations.
For example, you could use an automation plugin to configure things so that you automatically unpublish a site and remove a client’s edit access if they stop paying.
If you have a ton of clients, this automation might be helpful. But if you only have a few dozen clients, there’s probably no need as you can just handle these tasks manually.
Giving clients basic editor access
Depending on your preferences, you may or may not want to give clients the ability to edit their own microsites.
If you’d rather handle everything yourself, you can skip this section. But if you want to give clients edit access, you’ll need to make sure you configure it so that clients are only able to edit their own sites (and not any sites from other clients).
💡 The way to do this properly is with the native WordPress user role and capability system. However, you’ll need to make some tweaks.
While you can edit user roles and capabilities using code, we recommend the free User Role Editor plugin as a simpler alternative. To get started, install and activate the free plugin from WordPress.org.
Create a new client user role
To create the user role for your clients, go to Users → User Role Editor. Then, click the Add Role button:
In the popup, enter a name for the role and select Author in the Make copy of drop-down. By duplicating the author role as a starting point, you can save some time.
Then, click Add Role:
Now, you’ll see a list of capabilities that your clients will have, AKA actions that they’re allowed to take on your site.
In the list, check these two boxes (you can search for them to save time):
If you created a custom post type for your clients’ microsites, you’ll want to add the capability to edit and publish those custom post types instead.
Depending on your setup, you might want to remove the ability for them to work with posts (AKA blog posts).
Create a user account for your client
Now, when you get a new client, you can go to Users → Add New to create a new account for them.
Enter their basic details. Then, in the Role drop-down, make sure to select the Client user role that you just created:
Add that user account as the author of the microsite pages
To finish things out, you’ll want to set the client’s account as the author of all the pages that make up their microsite.
💡 This will ensure that a client can edit their own microsite, but not the microsites of your other clients.
That’s how to sell microsites with WordPress!
If you want to build a new revenue stream for your website design business, learning how to sell microsites is a great way to reach clients who might not need a full website (or have the budget to pay for one).
👉 By using a single WordPress install to power all of the sites, you can keep your costs low while still providing all the power that clients need.
💵 Even if you’re only charging a low recurring fee like $10-$20 per month, that’s still essentially free money since your costs are so low.
🐱 For the easiest way to create these microsites, you can use the WP Landing Kit plugin. You then might want to add other plugins to handle client payments and/or give clients edit access.
If you want to learn more about the plugin, check out our full WP Landing Kit review.
Do you still have any questions about how to sell microsites with WordPress and WP Landing Kit? Let us know in the comments.